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U.S. Supreme Court

International Boxing Club v. United States, 358 U.S. 242 (1959)

International Boxing Club of New York, Inc. v. United States

No. 18

Argued November 13, 1958

Decided January 12, 1959

358 U.S. 242


1. The Government's civil complaint charging appellants with a combination and conspiracy in unreasonable restraint of trade and commerce among the States in the promotion, broadcasting, and televising of professional world championship boxing contests, as well as a conspiracy to monopolize and monopolization of the same, in violation of § 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, was sustained by this Court as stating a cause of action, and the case was remanded for trial on the merits. 348 U. S. 348 U.S. 236. After a trial, the District Court, in an opinion incorporating detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law based on the principles laid down by this Court, found that the allegations of the complaint had been sustained, and adjudged that appellants had violated §§ 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act.

Held: the District Court's findings are not clearly erroneous, and its judgment on the merits is affirmed. Pp. 358 U. S. 244-252.

(a) The District Court's finding that the relevant market was the promotion of championship boxing contests, in contrast to all professional boxing contests, was not clearly erroneous, and it is sustained. Pp. 358 U. S. 249-252.

2. After further hearings on the nature and extent of the relief necessary to protect the public interest, the District Court entered a final judgment dissolving the two international boxing clubs, directing the individual appellants to divest themselves of their stock in Madison Square Garden, and granting injunctive relief designed to open up the market in the business of promoting professional world championship boxing matches.

Held: the relief granted was not beyond the allowable discretion of the District Court, and its judgment is affirmed. Pp. 358 U. S. 253-263.

(a) At the time of the final decree, the Joe Louis agreements had lapsed; the exclusive contract practice had been abandoned at least temporarily; the leases on Yankee Stadium, the Polo Grounds, and St. Nicholas Arena in New York had been given up; and the appellants had no control over the new heavyweight champion;

Page 358 U. S. 243

but this Court agrees with the District Court that the additional evidence taken by it showed that appellants still possessed all of the power of monopoly and restraint. Pp. 358 U. S. 254-255.

(b) Even if the individual appellants' stock in Madison Square Garden was lawfully acquired and was not the fruit of the conspiracy, it had been utilized to effect the purposes of the conspiracy, and could be so used again, and the record supports the District Court's conclusion that they should be required to divest themselves of this stock in order to break up the unlawful combination and restore competition in championship boxing contests -- without being granted the alternative options requested by them. Pp. 358 U. S. 255-259.

(c) Since the two international boxing clubs were formed pursuant to the conspiracy, and were the means used to effectuate it, the requirement that they be dissolved was justified. Pp. 358 U. S. 259-261.

(d) The District Court having found that one of the means used in effectuating the conspiracy was the ownership and control of arenas and stadia, the requirement of the decree that Madison Square Carden and the Chicago Stadium be rented to any qualified promoter at a reasonable rental, subject to specified conditions, was justified. Pp. 358 U. S. 261-262.

(e) Practical considerations justify the prohibition against exclusive contracts with contestants, even though they apply not only to championship bouts, but to all professional boxing contests, thus going beyond the "relevant market" considered for the purposes of determining the Sherman Act violations. P. 358 U. S. 262.

150 F.Supp. 397, affirmed.

Page 358 U. S. 244

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